When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed? 
Ashley Wilking: I keep a liter of water beside my bed. It’s easy to forget to hydrate during the busy day, so I try to down the entire thing before I leave the apartment.

TG: What gives you energy?
Coffee and stretching. There is nothing better than the light, airy feeling after a great stretch!

TG What’s your secret life hack? 
The word why. I love to ask myself why. Why do I workout? Why do I eat healthy? Or vice versa. If you bring yourself back to your why, you act from a place of extreme importance: yourself. You do you! If it truly makes you happy, when that’s all that matters!

TG: Name a book that changed your life. 
AW: When I first moved to New York, I was overwhelmed to say the least. I wanted to stick it out and figure it out. I randomly bought this book called Take the Stairs. This wasn’t a life changing method or suspenseful thriller, but it made me think. One of the main points: If you choose the easier option, you’ll never grow. You’ll always cruise. Take that challenge. Even it it’s just the stairs!

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you? 
AW: It’s a love-hate relationship, for sure! We’re so connected these days. I try to find times when I have to put it away — bike riding, working out and at night. Creating tech free zones are major. I use my SONOS as an alarm so I can leave my phone in the other room.

TG: How do you deal with email? 
AW: So. Many. Emails. To be completely honest, when I get overwhelmed with needing to respond, I pick up the phone. I would rather have a 5-minute chat over the phone actually speaking to someone.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
Walk. I love walking. Now that I have Mia (mini Australian shepherd) it’s a fun incentive to just enjoy the moment. I use it as a phone free zone! Walking help me clear my head and re-energize.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
It happens more often than we all like. Feeling like you have to be everywhere, all at once. My game changer? Saying no. It’s so hard! By telling friends you can’t do dinner, that you need down time instead. Maybe, “No! I don’t need to workout today, I need to recover.” By saying no to things you may not need, you start saying yes to things you do!

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
My favorite topic. Failing is not fun, but it’s vital! We only get stronger by overcoming obstacles. And we only overcome by learning how to. Which also means learning how not to.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
“Courage is not the absence of fear, it the acknowledgment that something else is more important.”

Ashley Wilking is an athlete with over twelve years of martial arts experience, a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, top ranked triathlete, competitive swimmer and Instructor at Barry’s Bootcamp. Ashley is your go-to fitness guru.

Originally published at journal.thriveglobal.com